If you are sheltering in place you are pretty much at home most of the time. For many, it is easy to get overly focused on your work, social media, cooking, cleaning or organizing the house, or on some form of entertainment. Before you know it hours have passed and you feel wiped out and lethargic.
Regardless of what you are doing indoors, it is important to rev up your engine and get re-charged to enhance your physical health and spirit One of the best ways to do it is to get outdoors, which can shift your energy and outlook so you feel better. And the real bonus is what it does for your body. I have firmed up, lost a few pounds and am healthier. Above all walking or jogging is so enjoyable especially in the sun, but rainy or cool days energize me to go faster so I get a real cardio boost.
And if you prefer to stay indoors there are plenty of workout classes being offered online where you can work up a sweat. I have weights at home to strength train my muscles. Even if you don’t, you can probably find or make weights by filling water bottles with water, sand or rocks for example.
If I haven’t convinced you yet here are more benefits of exercise and getting outdoors:
- Improves blood pressure and heart rate – Lower blood pressure and increased heart health will lower the risk for heart attack or stroke and doing this naturally is better than with medicines.
- Makes you feel happier – More fresh air and exercise equals more oxygen that you will breathe. This, in turn, will increase the amount of serotonin (the happy hormone) produced, consequently boosting your mood and well-being.
- Strengthens your immune system – An increase in fresh air and exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils and monocytes, which helps our white blood cells function properly by killing bacteria and germs thus enhancing our immune
- Cleans your lungs – Your lungs dilate more from having an increase of oxygen so fresh air and exercise improves the cleansing of your lungs. You release airborne toxins from your body when exhaling through your lungs.
- Gives you more energy and a sharper mind – You may notice that after spending time outside, you feel brighter and more motivated to get back to work. More oxygen results in greater brain functioning, improving your concentration skills and providing you with additional energy. Getting outside in the middle of a day will help to reduce the typical afternoon slump after lunch.
- Being outside will also help you produce vitamin D from the sun (when it does come out), which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system, strengthening our bones, teeth and much more.
- Walking, hiking or running on terrain that is constantly changing like on a trail teaches the body how to adapt to a changing environment. And we sure need that today both physically and mentally.
- Feel more energetic throughout the day, have sharper mental function, and be more relaxed and positive. Research indicates that even modest amounts of exercise and being outdoors can make a difference. It is not all or nothing. If an hour is too much, try it for 15 minutes.
- Attain higher self-esteem.Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and more confident. This is great and pays off both professionally and personally. And by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.
- Better sleep.Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing practices such as yoga or gentle stretching can promote sleep.
- Relieves tension and stress and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Who doesn’t want this especially all the upheaval and change in our lives right now.
As you walk or jog, try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding mindfulness and really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.
For most, the benefits outweigh the cons and it’s ok to start small. In fact, it’s smart. I always say 30 minutes is better than 15 minutes and 15 minutes is better than no minutes. If you start small or miss a day, just go with the flow and pick up where you left off.
As you move and start to feel a little better, you’ll experience a greater sense of control over your well-being. You may even feel energized enough to exercise more vigorously such as by walking further, breaking into a run, or adding a bike ride, for example. And you can easily do this outside and be physically distanced from others.
Do your best to strive on feeling good and making progress. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind and you will perform so much better at your work or anything that is important for you to accomplish.